I was translating an academic paper that quoted some articles that were written before WW2, and I came across the expressions [noun]+たらしむべく and きたらしめる (from 来る) for the first time.

Thanks to these posts/articles, I was able to translate the passages. But what struck me as interesting is that the person who answered the Yahoo!知恵袋 question said "if you had to forcibly translate [noun]+たらしむべく literally to get your point across, you might say であらさせるために, but this is ridiculous, so the old expression lives on in modern Japanese."

Are there any other 漢文・古文-type expressions that remain common in contemporary written Japanese? Is there a collective name for them?

I tried to Google it (sort of) and I found せしむるべし, which I also remember seeing somewhere once.

I'm looking for expressions that would prompt an average contemporary native speaker to post a question on Yahoo! Answers. I'm already familiar with stuff like べき・べく・べし, 〜ざるを得ない, using き・し instead of い as adjective endings (良き・良し).


1 Answer 1


I firstly thought 古語 or 古典語 would be the collective name you're looking for, but they are the Japanese in and before Meiji era, which seems to be too much older than those you are looking for.

Speaking of 漢文・古文-type expressions, 時代劇doramas or movies are another place we can find a lot of old-style-like Japanese. Those are understood in general but actually never used in daily life either in spoken or written Japanese.

I found a research paper which studies about such old expressions, in which those are named 擬似古語. Have a look at page 25 - 31, page 43 - 80, and page 183 - 200 in the paper. They could be interesting for you.

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